From art to automotive, confections to construction, musician to mortician, Youngsville High School's career seminar day included a serious variety of professions.
The presentations introduced students in grades nine through 12 to jobs and the education requirements needed for them, and to some of the pros and cons of each field.
In addition to particular career paths, there were presenters for stress management, team building, and a life coach. Students even got to practice eating in a professional situation. Chef Justin Tech prepared lunch for almost 300 people and a presentation entitled, "How to have a business luncheon."
About 50 professionals from all over Warren County took time out of their schedules to present information on their respective fields to groups of Youngsville students.
The presentations were about 40 minutes long.
Assistant Principal Amy Beers and School Improvement Team Liaison Melissa Bullock spear-headed the event and credited art teacher Rebecca Yeager with the idea.
They said they contacted businesses and agencies in Youngsville first, then spread the invitations throughout the county.
"We made a list of the career paths that we would like to see," Bullock said. "The community - Warren County - was fantastic."
"If we were told no, it was because they had a prior commitment," Beers said. "I had not one negative conversation."
"We had people drop what they were doing to fill in for people who couldn't make it," she said. "Our community is wonderful."
The leaders of the event singled out Veterinarian Dr. Katie Ball and Midtown Motors for providing a speaker at the last minute.
There was a Youngsville flavor to many of the presentations.
Youngsville graduate Greg Sanford shared his experiences with the U.S. Forest Service on the Allegheny National Forest. He explained to students how he chose a track in high school and which courses he needed to take to get into his chosen field.
When Youngsville Police Department Chief Todd Mineweaser told students about the job, he didn't pull any punches. He explained that he is not always popular on the job - "I don't go to people's houses for tea parties."
Youngsville High School Teacher Joseph Errett stepped out of the social studies role and told students about the teaching profession.
The school also brought in Youngsville Borough Manager Terry Williams to talk about government.
Students heard repeatedly that employers are looking for hard work and dedication in addition to particular skills and abilities.
Senior Tracie Reynolds plans to become a teacher. Errett's insight into the profession was the most practical for her. But, with eight different presentations on the day, she was able to go well beyond her chosen path and get a feel for several other possibilities. "I learned about different careers and different ways to manage stress," Reynolds said. "I went to life coach. That was really good."
Ernie Hemmerly of Novus Auto Glass was the life coach. "We talked about how to set goals for yourself, how to achieve them," Reynolds said. "How to dream big."
Max Lalwani took away information on the field his is looking toward as well. "Hotel management is something I'm interested in after high school," he said.
Patti Centi of Holiday Inn presented on that topic.
Like Reynolds, Lalwani ended up with a broad range of information. "It was a good way to look at some different job futures," he said. "I learned a lot of stuff in banking that I'll probably need."
Event organizers are willing to share their contacts and insights with other schools and expect the event to garner some interest at an upcoming administrative team meeting.
"You need to start this as early as possible," Beers said. "By ninth grade, our students need to make a decision... what is their high school career path."
"We wanted to give the kids a different outlook on school - what they're working toward in their classes," Bullock said.
"These are the potential employers that these students are going to be looking for in their near futures," Beers said. "What a wonderful opportunity for employers to see what wonderful kids we have here in Youngsville, and an equally wonderful opportunity for our students to see employers present their professions."